Biotech firm Vivus unveiled a would-be player Monday in the 3.7-billion-dollar erectile dysfunction market: avanafil, effective in just 15 minutes, far faster than blockbuster rivals Viagra and Cialis.
"The magnitude of success in the first 15 minutes was surprising," Leland Wilson, the company's CEO, said in a statement.
Wilson put the spotlight on upbeat results for the class three investigational drug to treat male impotency, now in its last step before it can get a green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"This new data further strengthens the profile and differentiation of avanafil from other currently available oral ED therapies," Wilson said, referring to erectile dysfunction.
While "we knew from the pharmacokinetic profile that avanafil works very quickly, this data is exciting evidence of how fast avanafil really works," he stressed.
"From our discussions with patients and physicians, we knew that rapid onset was an important attribute in the selection of an ED therapy," he added.
Knowing avanafil acts in 15 minutes and lasts the length of a sexual encounter should be huge pluses for the drug in this highly lucrative market, said Dr Charles Bowden with Vivus.
The company is eyeing a market launch in early 2012.
Pfizer, which makes Viagra, says its drug acts within 30 minutes to an hour after it is taken. Cialis, made by Eli Lilly, starts working from 30 minutes to six hours after ingestion.
A third competitor, Levitra, acts starting between 25 and 60 minutes after it is taken.
A recent report by the American College of Physicians published in October found that some 322 million men worldwide will have erectile dysfunction by 2020.